BAE Systems said it completed a flight test of its automated damage detection system, which the company said is an important step toward creating a self-inspecting aircraft. The Advanced Structural Health Monitoring System (AHMOS), which is being developed as part of a European Research and Development funded initiative, made its first flight on a BAE Systems Hawk. During flight testing, the detection kit housed in a self-contained pod attached to the underside of the Hawk, was able to pinpoint cracks in specifically designed dummy structures and download a diagnosis when the aircraft landed. "The new system aims to avoid lengthy and expensive structural inspections that require the repeated dismantling of large sections of aircraft. Very often such inspections are precautionary and no faults that need repairing are found," said Jim McFeat, AHMOS Technical Manager at BAE Systems. "Using a combination of strain gauge sensors and fiber optic cables connected to a computer, and contained within an aerodynamic pod under from the fuselage of the Hawk, we have now demonstrated the technology works." BAE said it has three additional flight tests planned before it issues its formal report in early 2008.